Background Social support has been identified as a key factor in facilitating better health outcomes following injury. However, research has primarily focused on the role of social support from the perspective of the person experiencing an injury. Limited research has examined the experiences of the family members/friends to a person with injury. This study aims to explore the perceptions and experiences of social support and recovery following a transport-related musculoskeletal injury (MSI) in a population of injured persons and their family members/friends.
Methods This study was conducted using a phenomenology qualitative research design. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten persons with MSI, recruited via the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) in Victoria, Australia. Seven family members/friends were also interviewed. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The data was analysed using thematic analysis.
Results Several themes were identified including: (i) key sources of support, (ii) types of support received, (iii) relationship development and (iv) challenges of providing and receiving support. The presence of social support was perceived as fundamental to recovery. Different members of the social network provided different types of support. Iterative changes in relationships and barriers in providing and receiving support following the injury were noted.
Conclusions This study provides valuable insights into the perceptions and experiences of social support and recovery from MSI. The study revealed complexities in the interactions between persons with MSI and their family members/friends, in particularly related to caregiving demands. The findings of this study have implication for involving and supporting family members/friends in the planning and implementation of treatment plan.
- social support
- musculoskeletal injury
- transport accident
- qualitative study
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